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Hollie1

Offer of fixed term contract withdrawn

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After being unemployed for five months after redundancy, I was offered a 3 month contract as a receptionist to cover maternity leave/summer holidays:D. I was directly approached by the employer after they were informed that I was looking for a job by a friend who worked there. I went for an interview, was told the job had not been advertised and that I was the only applicant. Just over a week later, and on the day I was due to go for a second interview for another job, they telephoned me to say they would like to offer me the job and gave me a start date. I had to make a quick decision and accepted, so obviously I then had to withdraw my application for the other job. They asked me to pop in for a coffee, chat and to meet everyone. I was told my start date again, rate of pay and asked were there any hours I couldn't cover (there weren't). During the conversation it emerged that someone who was related to a member of staff had started working there the previous day doing the same job, which I thought strange:confused:, but as they said they would have my contract typed up and sent out I thought no more of it. Imaging my horror:eek: when I returned from holiday to a letter stating due to unforseen circumstances they could no longer offer me the job. 'Simply, there is no vacancy'! They asssured me it was nothing to do with my suitability for the job. I was devastated, and I do believe they are in breach of contract. However, what I need to know is, are there different rules if you are on a fixed term contract? I have tried reading the ERA 1996 and it does mention an exclusion in there, but I don't know if it has been amended since then as I know some of it has. Is there anyone who knows the answer please? I would really appreciate some advice on this. Thankyou very much in anticipation

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Somebody else recently posted something very similar, and it is a very awkward situation, so you have my sympathy.

 

Basically, it makes little difference that this was for a fixed term position, a job offer was made, and on that basis they have certainly breached a contract. Your difficulty is that the offer was only made verbally and was not advertised. They have however written to you making mention that an offer had been made, so keep careful hold of that. The remedy for the breach is unfortunately limited to what you would have earned had the employment started and been immediately terminated, which unless expressly stated elsewhere, is a week's notice, therefore you should be entitled to a week's pay.

 

Small comfort I know, but that is the top and bottom of it. Breach of contract, pay me for the week's notice I am entitled to.


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Thankyou for the advice. Don't really want to go down the tribunal route but feel I should not let them get away with treating someone so badly! I am 53 and have found it very difficult to even get an interview, let alone a job, even though I am very capable and was running an office before being made redundant. I am going to write to them and claim my weeks notice as they are in breach of contract. The annoying thing is I had to start all over again with the job centre as I had, very happily, signed off.

 

Thanks again for your advice ;)

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Hollie, you don't have 'employee' status under ERA, therefore the only route to ET you could take is for the pay dispute (which as previously stated is likely to be limited to the notice period).

If, however, you think your age may have contributed to the decision to withdraw the offer, then of course this is an entirely different matter as discrimination claims are not limited to the definition of employee (under ERA).

Good luck

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Was checking the ugov site last night and according to that if an offer of employment is made and accepted (even verbally) then a contract is in place, so I am guessing that is correct. If they withdraw it without giving notice they are in breach of contract. Think this means I can claim a weeks notice and pay from them. I have discovered that trying to find out about it is very confusing as there is alot of conflicting information on the internet. Still feeling very angry with them and need to do something :-x to make them realise they shouldn't treat people this way. I am certain it isn't an age thing in this case as there seems to be a good mix of ages employed there. If nepotism was against the law I may have had a case :D.

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